Glaciers: Size, Beauty, Power + Environmental Importance

Mountains. Valleys. Canyons. I’m not talking about rocks. I’m talking about ice. Seeing these features in photos can hardly do a glacier justice. The sheer size, beauty, power, and environmental importance of these structures are almost incomprehensible. But scientists are trying to comprehend all of the dynamics happenng in glaciers, and that is why we are here at this Glaciology Summer School. Students and instructors trekked to the Kennicott Glacier (which, as of several decades ago, reached all the way to McCarthy itself), to see it firsthand. For a few in our group, it was their first time on a glacier, and for the others, being on a glacier again was just as exciting as it was the first time. With every step, the vista is more breathtaking that the last. And there is science in every crack, color, flow, ridge, movement, and every other feature in and around a glacier, and we’ll tell you about it on the blog throughout the Summer School. For now, just appreciate the size, beauty, and power…

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The ice comes into view…

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Reaching the edge…

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Glacier first-timers!

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Details in every surface…

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Deep, deep ice…

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Ice cave!

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The view from a ridge above. For scale, the ice cave in the photo above is the dark spot at the bottom edge of the glacier (quite the hike on steep slopes of loose rocks).

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